Gibson Custom Shop 50th Anniversary '58 Les Paul Standard Flame Top Reissue Tom Murphy Aged - USA 2008
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With relatively low production sales of the Gibson Les Paul, the guitar had been considered a commercial failure. It was an answer to Fender’s first production solid body guitar – the Broadcaster (later called the telecaster due to a dispute with Gretsch over their already named ‘Broadkaster’ drum set) of 1950. Les Paul, the virtuoso jazz guitarist and inventor had initially not been given the time of day by Gibson. He had been working previously with other makers such as Epiphone, and had been experimenting with solid body guitars since the late 1930s. Gibson called Les Paul in to help design a guitar for the company.
The Gibson Les Paul was presented to the public in 1952. Despite its groundbreaking design and refined features, its sales were moderate at first and decreased over the next few years. They didn’t have the workmanlike appeal of the telecaster and were too futuristic for the established jazz players of the time. They also came almost exclusively with one finish option. Gold, with natural mahogany back, sides and neck. Only 598 Les Pauls were shipped in 1957. In efforts to revamp the image of the Les Paul in 1958 a new colour was introduced. Sunburst. Combine this with refinements in the neck shape (slimmer C profile) and the new Humbucking pickups (as of 1957) the guitar began turning heads and developing a reputation as an high class alternative to the more utilitarian solid bodies of the day.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of this seminal instrument, Gibson Custom Shop produced some of the most striking examples of custom built, Murphy Aged bursts in 2008. Here we have an example of one of the best. The subtle relic of this guitar by Tom Murphy is exquisite. This ‘58 has the feel of a true vintage with subtle nitro checking and tasteful patina on the chrome hardware which serves to give the guitar a timeless quality that is well deserved for an instrument of this pedigree. Flame maple tops were less common in 1958 compared to their surge in popularity in 1959. This example has an understated but stunning flame maple top which is all class.
The slightly chunky C profile of the neck fits well in the hands. The added heft is confidence inspiring, especially up past the 12th fret, which is where the hands feel at home on this guitar – this thing was designed to wail! This feels alive with a rich resonance and good acoustic properties. This guitar is fun to play with or without an amp. The Burstbucker pickups are lively, dynamic and expressive with plenty of top end sparkle. This is the ultimate classic Les Paul. A truly magnificent guitar.
Scale length: 24 ¾"
Fretboard Radius: 12”
Action at 1st fret: 0.75mm
Action at 12th fret: 2mm
Neck depth at 1st fret: 22mm
Neck depth at 12th fret: 26mm
Nut Width: 43mm
12 fret width: 52.5mm
Neck material: Mahogany with rosewood fretboard
Fretboard inlays: Trapezoid
Body size at lower bout: 33cm
Front Pickup: Burstbucker
Bridge Pickup: Burstbucker
Tuners: Gibson Deluxe Tulip
Pickguard: Cream (cream 50th anniversary pickguard included in case)
Bridge: Tune-o-matic stop bar